Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#AmReading - Ever-Flowing Streams by Dana Taylor @SupernalDana

Ever-Flowing Streams by Dana Taylor


What is “energy healing” and how can it change your life? “Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping into Healing Energy” follows the path of one woman on a journey from middle class mom to Reiki Master. A lifelong medical mystery leads to studying alternative medicine traditions including Chinese herbs, essential oils, Eastern medicine, and past life therapy. In 2005 an encounter with a Reiki energy worker becomes a life changing healing experience. Ultimately, the book encourages readers to discover their own healing capabilities and take charge of their own physical and mental well-being.

Brian Bloom – How to research your story before writing your book? @BrianB_Aust

How to research your story before writing your book?

Probably the most sensible way to address this question is by way of a case study.  I am in the process of marketing my factional novel The Last Finesse. When it was first conceived, it was to be about nuclear energy and it was to be a “prequel” to my first factional novel, Beyond Neanderthal, that was about over-unity electromagnetic energy.

All I knew was that The Last Finesse was to be about nuclear and, arising from my first novel, I had a mentor who was able to guide me on matters relating to physics in general and energy in particular. So, step 1: Get yourself a mentor if your primary theme is to be about a subject in which you are not an expert.

The first thing I did was I focussed on the fact that there was (and still is) wild disagreement amongst people whom I knew, about the merits/demerits of nuclear. Some people were highly enthusiastic and others were rabidly anti nuclear. Fukushima hadn’t happened yet but those against typically used Chernobyl as their basis for arguing. Those who were pro tended to have a better than average understanding of the science.

Once I understood the parameters, I went to Amazon and ordered five books on nuclear: Two were in favour, two were against, and one was “How to Build a Nuclear Bomb?” I came to understand that, if you have access to enriched uranium or plutonium you can build such a bomb in your back yard, or in a small, undetectable space. Whether you do or not boils down to “trust’. Maybe that fact will influence reader views on whether Iran should be allowed to continue enriching uranium?

I read all five books and, in the process, discovered where my main questions lay. Some of the questions I put to my mentor, but I wanted a different viewpoint. So I sent an email to the Director of Public Communications at the
World Nuclear Association, London.  I looked up his contact details on the internet because I had seen that one of the “pro” books had been published under the WNA auspices.  In my email, I explained to him what I wanted to do and I asked if he would be prepared to give me any guidance and respond to questions – provided I kept the volume as low as possible. He was very co-operative. I discovered that most questions that I posed had answers on the WNA’s website but he saved me from having to wade through the entire site.

Once I understood the “core” issues, I decided to link the story to climate change and I asked my mentor to describe the most outlandish scenario he could imagine. It didn’t take him long. Without divulging any “spoilers” he described a scenario that many climate scientists were genuinely worried about but didn’t want to talk about yet because they’re having enough trouble getting people to jump over the “warming/cooling/its all bullshit” hurdle.

I then asked him to point me a direction to research that subject and his response was to send me about 20 or 30 web links to articles on the subject, ranging from peer reviewed scientific papers to media articles. Any questions I came up with, he patiently explained.

It was at that point that I had a rough idea of what my story was going to be. I wanted the opening chapter to introduce the idea of a naval vessel from the “good guys” to intercept a naval vessel from the “bad guys”. The bad guys would be smuggling nuclear components to a rogue country, so I had to find a rogue country, which turned out to be Burma.

Then I had two separate problems:

  1. I didn’t know squat about the navy or maritime matters and
  2. I didn’t  know squat about Burma

So I decided to cast my net to find contacts who could help me find mentors. It happened purely by accident or good fortune or however you want to describe it. Through one contact, I found a political refugee who was then living in Australia who had spent 11 years in jail in Burma. A mate knew someone who knew someone who introduced me to a retired Rear Admiral and he opened the doors for me to find an adviser within the Australian Navy who could act as my mentor. The key to finding help is to ask for it politely and respectfully. Most people are naturally helpful.

My Burmese mentor advised me on the high level problems of life in Burma (and its history) and pointed me in the direction of a website run by the Democratic Voice of Burma. I also bought a book on the history of Burma. The two together represented pay dirt! The website had specific information on what the junta were allegedly doing to pursue their aim of acquiring technology to build a nuclear bomb. The book explained about Burmese culture and the makeup of the countries citizenry.

The next step was to buy a couple of maps of Burma (now Myanmar) so as to familiarise myself with the layout of that country – both within and in relation to its neighbours – and to get a map that would show the likely route that an Australian ship would have to travel to get to Myanmar. My navy mentor told me that Australia regularly sends ships as far afield as the Persian Gulf and he helped me devise a credible scenario which would enable one of my main characters to travel from Australia and link up with a ship in the area – so as to save time.

I then started to dig deeper and deeper into Burmese culture and life to understand what the citizens of that country were going through. It turned out to be “hell” but the typical tourists were not allowed to see that hell. In particular, Burma is the second largest grower of poppies for heroine in the world, behind Afghanistan.

So, now I had the skeleton of a story. That’s when I started fleshing out my characters. Along the way, as I was writing the story, it became necessary to research other scenes. There’s one scene set in Hawks Nest, where I Iive, which hosted an international wind surfing competition. I went down to have a look, camera in hand, took a couple of hundred photos and got chatting to the organisers and competitors. They were very helpful. I needed to understand travel arrangements, so I went onto the internet and went through the motions booked an imaginary flight. This enabled me to get accurate flight times. I needed to have my character land at a particular airport, so I went onto the web and searched for an aerial image of the airport. I needed a scene that described a particular tourist attraction, so I got hold of a travelogue DVD from a caravan club that described the journey along the way.

And thus the story evolved. It all starts with research and the more research you do the better and more believable your story will be.

But let’s not lose site of the main challenge: The quality of the book boils down to the quality and structure of the story, and how well you communicate it.

The Last Finesse

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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Michelle Rabe – How to Create a Great Work Area for Inspiration @michrabe

How to Create a Great Work Area for Inspiration

I think how everyone creates their own space to let inspiration in is as unique as every writer. So I’ll tell you how I came up with my little nook. The first thing and most important part of any writing room is a door. Seems a little obvious but, you need a door that you can close. This isn’t my idea, I got it from Stephen King’s book On Writing. The reason you have to be able to close the door is so that you can shut the world out. You as a writer need the space to let go of the stresses of everyday life and give your imagination room to play. I’m a very visual person so staring at a blank wall drives me crazy. As a result, my writing space has masks and a cork board on them. I like working in low light, candle light is preferred but since it’s not always practical I have a string of funky lights along the wall. On my desk I have a lamp that’s a lit tree, that along with the other lights are enough to write by. My desk isn’t big, it’s an old fashioned writing desk that has a section that pulls out to write on. The desk has been in my family for as long as I can remember. The past few years it’s been tucked away in a spare room at my dad’s. In its long life it has been painted (by me) with a white and lavender crackle finish that I didn’t work for me anymore when I got it back this time. When I embarked on the long process of stripping and repainting it I had this crazy idea to paint the writing part with chalkboard paint. I get ideas in a lot of different places, they kind of hit me at strange moments so I like have a way to write things down quickly so that I don’t forget, hence the chalkboard. The rest of the desk is covered with little trinkets that help me get in the mood to work. I have a coffin, more masks, file folders with information that I might need, spare pens and a couple of candles. When I’m going to work, I turn on the lights on my desk and leave the main light off, turn on my music of choice and settle in. You can set up your work area however you like, if you need no distractions then maybe just a laptop cart or desk just big enough for your computer is the way to go. No matter what you like, I want to stress that you should have a regular writing space, especially if you’re a beginning writer. You’ll get used to working in that place and you’ll find yourself being able work better in that space. I wish you all happy writing nook making, have fun with it and remember to do what works for you.

Michelle Rabe

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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Michelle Rabe on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://paperbackvamp.tumblr.com/

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

#Free - Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler @ALJambor

Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Historical Romance

Rating – PG

5 (6 reviews)

Free until 30 December 2013

A sweet historical set in 1895
Hannah Dawes is an enchanting strawberry blond who is betrothed to the boy next door.  When his father sends him a hundred miles away to become a doctor, Hannah vows to wait for him.  When he marries another, she's hurt, but she's not down for long.  Hannah has a dream, and the gumption to see it through.  Drawn to the colors in the church's stained glass windows, she abandons the sandcastle sculptures she shared with her former beau and embraces painting with color.  She draws inspiration from the wild Atlantic ocean and when the family fortune is lost and she is forced to move to Colorado, Hannah is heartbroken - until she sees the Rocky Mountains and a cowboy named Adam.
Adam is a shy man who loves horses and thinks he'll spend his life on the range.  But when he
sets eyes on the saucy, red-haired Hannah, he's smitten.  He hasn't known many women, and that Hannah is a strange one.  At first, he retreats when she gets riled up, which seems to be all the time, and she doesn't think he likes her, and when he tries to talk to her, his lack of sophistication frustrates her.  But there is something about the sweet cowboy that stays with her, and even when she meets a handsome and rich doctor, she can't get Adam out of her mind.
While they try to find common ground, Hannah and Adam grow to love one another, but someone from Hannah's past has come to Colorado to steal her away and won't let anyone stand in his way.  Will he keep Hannah and Adam apart?
Settle into an sweet, old-fashioned romance and get lost in Hannah's Dream.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

#AmReading - Seductive Secrecy by Marni Mann @MarniMann

Seductive Secrecy by Marni Mann


**Book #2 in the Shadows Series**

"We were two broken souls who had found each other in a world of shadows. We were held together by a connection of secrets, dark and fearful and reluctant to leave. Their depth was seductive and overwhelming, an endless ocean of black that threatened to cover the brilliance we kept reaching for with each other."

With her art career flourishing and the mansion predators no longer a threat, Charlie is creating a new life. Her desires have changed, and she has a chance at a healthy, loving relationship with Cameron--if they can bury the memories and doubts that plague them.
Can they overcome the destruction of their clouded pasts, or will the revelation of more painful, shocking secrets pull them back into the shadows?

Author Interview – Holy Ghost Writer @SultanOfSalem

What are you most proud of in your personal life? My children
What books did you love growing up? Strangely, the only book I recall the title of from childhood is The Ghost of Dibble Hallow because I am a late bloomer when it comes to my love for reading and writing.
Who is your favorite author? There are so many that I love, but I would have to say the one that influenced me most is Alexandre Dumas.
What book genre of books do you adore? I love a good mystery based adventure novel.
What book should everybody read at least once? For modern literature I would say either 1984 or Pride and Prejudice but for more ancient works, The King James Version of the Bible if English is your first language, otherwise, you would miss out on the world’s most influential collection of literature and not discover the seamless ingenuity of it.
Holy Ghost Writer
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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG-15
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Living The Testimony by Deidre Havrelock @deidrehavrelock

My Personal Testimony

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a Cree/Irish borderline Catholic girl, meaning this half-breed rarely went to Mass. However, I did pray every night. I absolutely loved God and believed in Him deeply. Being Catholic, I had heard about Jesus. In fact, my favorite song was “Away in a Manger.” Whenever I was scared, which was often, I would sing this song. But I imagined Jesus to be a fairytale—a fantasy about a perfect God coming to save people. He was just for good thoughts. He was in no way a reality.

Despite my vague belief in Jesus, my relationship with God seemed deep. I would have conversations with my invisible God; I would tell God I loved Him. And I certainly did love Him. Although, I was becoming a bit frustrated with Him because of my dreary life circumstance. You see, my dad drank—a lot. And this stress, along with the stress of my quickly emerging spiritual life, was simply too overwhelming.

As a child I lived with a strange secret. I sensed an ominous yet deeply intriguing spiritual force in my home. I simply assumed a ghost lived in my house. To convolute matters even more, when I was just seven, a man with fire for hair appeared to me in a dream, forcing me to marry him in front of an upside-down cross. He told me in the dream, “Don’t worry, you have been chosen.” From this point on, I completely believed I was married to the devil—irrevocably dark and aligned with evil.

Fortunately, this dream did motivate me to dig my heels in and search for God. I figured only God could get me divorced from the devil. But instead my search led me to Fred, a kind spirit I met in grade four through a Ouija board. Being Cree, spirits were nothing new to me. My mom’s family always talked about spirits. Most of my aunts and uncles were scared of the spirits or ghosts they saw in their dreams and in their houses, but my grandmother told me the spirits were there to help and protect us. I wasn’t quite sure what to believe. I was confused. After all, the spirits I sensed around me and the ones I saw in my dreams scared me, too. But then again, Fred seemed different. This spirit was nice. He was funny. Fred told me through the Ouija board that his job was to protect and watch over me. Eventually, I began telling myself that spirits just felt creepy, but once you got to know them they could be nice. Especially, if you were nice to them.

Fred became my constant companion. But one day, in grade six, after my best friend’s dad tried to molest me and just after my uncle Glen (who had sexually molested me as a small child) came to live with us in our home, I had a nervous breakdown. While left home alone with Glen, I grabbed a butcher knife and ran to my room to hide. Once in my bedroom, instead of picking up my Ouija board to call on Fred, I cried out to God, telling Him I wanted to kill myself. Suddenly I heard a voice speak out loud: “When you are big everything will be okay.” It was God; He spoke to me. He was real.3 I told God I’d hang on until I was big, which obviously, to a twelve-year-old mind, meant eighteen.

By age sixteen, things seemed to have miraculously changed for the better. First of all, my dad was now inexplicably healed from alcoholism. Second, I was introduced by my high school teacher to a New Age transcendental meditation and channeling group that met weekly in the back room of a small bookstore.4 I was so excited. I thought for sure—in this extremely spiritual group—I would find God and get my divorce from Satan.

This group also told me spirits were good and helpful. However, a few sessions later, I found myself strangely altered after my spirit guide Fred, along with another extremely violent spirit, entered my body during group meditation and refused to leave. A member of the group did attempt to help me force these spirits from my body, but the endeavor failed. Consequently, I was kicked out of my New Age group for having bad karma. This meant I was the one attracting these evil spirits to the group—because I was evil. I left the group feeling deeply hurt, misunderstood, and very aware of being “chosen” by the devil.5

A school friend of mine named Doug, who had joined the channeling group with me, then suggested, without knowing anything about my spiritual past, that I study Satanism. His brother had a Satanic Bible.6 After flatly declining, I began dreaming I was killing people. I also dreamed of horrible evil creatures. Rats invading my house was a common dream, and the devil with fire for hair began reappearing in my dreams, growing angrier every time I refused to follow him. When I turned eighteen, I gave up on spirituality. I simply wouldn’t choose Satan and God had failed to show up and save me.

When I was twenty-two years old, now bulimic/anorexic, depressed, and suffering from intense back pain, my life took an unexpected turn when at work God surprisingly spoke to me again saying, “This is the man whom you shall marry.” That man was DJ, a young man who worked in the same office as I did. Eventually DJ and I began dating, and even though we seemed to have nothing in common—because I was convinced that God had sent him to help me—on our third date, I opened up to him, describing to him my nightmares and my spirit guide, Fred. Of course, I worried DJ might consider me crazy, but instead he said, “I’m here to help.”7

It was a few weeks later that DJ opened up to me, explaining how he believed in Jesus. He told me he believed Jesus was alive. He told me Jesus could heal me and save me; and because he was God’s actual Son, he was the gateway to knowing and experiencing God. DJ asked me to simply trust Jesus.8

But I was more than a little doubtful. In fact, his Christian beliefs made me furious. It seemed idiotic for anyone to believe that a childhood fairytale could be true, and it seemed positively arrogant that DJ thought he knew and understood God. After all, why couldn’t God just save me Himself? What did He need Jesus for? Why was Jesus so important? I argued with DJ about the relevance of Jesus many times. Then one night, after arguing about Jesus yet again, my back flared up with pain. DJ asked if he could pray for me. I was uncomfortable with this but thought, What will it hurt?

As DJ prayed for me, particularly when he asked me to be healed “in the name of Jesus,” my back pain sharply escalated—then the voices began. It was just like during my channeling days. Spirits stirred inside me wanting to speak. Except this time they were enraged. As DJ continued praying, my body contorted as my muscles tightened; a low growl came from my lips. Within seconds, a thick black mass pulled out from my back and hovered above us. I remember huddling against DJ, whispering, “What is that?”

“It’s evil,” he said.

I was terrified. DJ, however, immediately told the evil spirits to “leave, in the name of Jesus.” Surprisingly, the blackness retreated back down inside me. I was horrified and confused, crying and shaking. I didn’t understand I was possessed. All I knew was that Fred and another spirit were living inside me; they were angry, extremely strong, and they absolutely hated the name Jesus.

DJ, now with clear confirmation that my problem was actually demonic possession, had to find help, but where was he to go? He wasn’t sure if his church leadership would believe him. DJ then met with a Christian girl, Audrey, who also worked in our office.9 She and DJ decided to bring me to her church. They hoped her pastor could pray for me and expel the evil spirits.10

DJ convinced me to attend a service. However, shortly after arriving at the church, I found myself running from the service after voices in my head told me to kill the pastor. I remember this pastor was preaching about Jesus being able to heal. The whole service felt strange and uncomfortable to me, but DJ convinced me to go back to this church two more times. Each time I returned, the strength and rage of the voices grew and my strange back pain returned. Finally, much too terrorized and confused to go on, I refused to go back. I told DJ talking about Jesus aggravated my problems, so the solution was obviously not to talk about him.

Living the testimony

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Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

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Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter

Website www.deidrehavrelock.com

The Colors of Friendship by K. R. Raye @KRRaye

Moving On

Lance flicked his wrist and checked his watch.  Yes, 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  With a smile he knocked on the girls’ dorm room door ready to tackle their English study session.  Even though they each pursued different majors: Melody, Communications; Imani, Chemical Engineering; and he studied Business; they all made a vow at orientation to align their core Freshmen classes and liberal arts electives whenever possible. 

He heard movement behind the door as one of the girls checked through the peephole and then Imani threw open the door.

Lance smiled and landed a peck on her cheek before he strolled inside. 

The phone rang and Imani shoved him towards it.  “Could you get that? It’s my mom,” she said heading towards the bathroom she shared with Melody and the two girls in the connecting room. 

Colors of Friendship

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Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with K R Raye on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://krraye.com/events.html

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Farmer – How to Avoid the Rejection Blues @MerryFarmer20

How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

Writers might be the most rejected people on the planet.  Yep.  It’s a sad fact of this passion of ours that with the urge to create stories and share them with the world comes the inevitable pile of rejections.  They stalk us at every step of the process.  From those oh-so kindly worded form rejection letters from agents that dent our hopeful spirits to the vicious 1-star review from the reader who just didn’t get what we were saying, rejections are a part of writing.

But don’t despair!  There is hope!  All of these rejections don’t have to hang like weights on your soul.  I know they hurt, I know that no one wants to see them, but they don’t have to be the end of the world.  We all have different strategies for coping with these disappointments, so here are a few that might just speak to you.

The most important thing to understand as you’re holding Form Rejection Letter #15 in your hand is that we’ve ALL been there.  You are in the best company in the world!  I know you’ve heard all the stories of how many times J.K. Rowling was rejected or how Stephen King had a spike on his wall where he skewered all his rejections.  I guarantee you that every writer you love has been rejected enough times to shock you.  I wish that writers would bring out their rejection letters more often, keep them in collections and swap them like trading cards even.  “Oh?  You were rejected by Donald Maass?  Me too!”  Then we could see them as the badge of honor they are.

Rejection is part of the process.  That letter is a good thing because it means you’re actually trying.  You are already ahead of the vast multitude of wannabes who never work up the gumption to try.  You are awesome!  Way to be proactive!  If you knew how many people out there never even reach the point of querying or who give up after one or two rejections, you’d be astounded.  But not you!  You are already on the path to succeeding by virtue of being willing to put yourself out there where rejection lives.

What about those of us who managed to find an agent (oh the thrill of hope!) only to have that agent be unable to sell the book to a publisher.  Ouch!  The disappointment of that rejection has to be twice as hard as a simple agent rejection because the hope that preceded it was so much greater.  It sucks, but the thing to remember is that publishing is such a subjective business and those fancy traditional publishing companies don’t always know what books will be a hit.  The good news is that nowadays you have other options.  Self-publishing is not a consolation prize anymore.  It’s not the last resort of the rejected.  It is a viable, legitimate, extremely profitable alternative.  There are writers out there making a living and more off of books that were rejected by New York.  Why?  Because they didn’t give up.

Ah, but what about those icky rejections that come when you HAVE succeeded, when you’re right there in print for all the world to buy, but someone gives you a scathingly bad review?  These are the most bittersweet rejections of all.  They’re like enormous zits on your face – everyone is going to see them as much as you don’t want them to.

Again, every writer worth their salt has negative reviews.  They are a badge of honor!  They mean that you have reached that coveted audience beyond your friends and family.  Strangers are reading stuff you wrote!  Whether they liked it or not, you’re out there.  You’re in people’s hands.  That’s an amazing thing.  And often, if you read those bad reviews closely, you’ll see that it’s not your talent they call into question, it’s the emotional reaction they had to the story.  Not only did you reach them, you touched them as well.  Maybe it was a bad reaction on their part, but their feelings were strong enough for them to tell the whole world.

I know rejection isn’t fun.  It’s the pits.  But keep your head held high.  You are in a special group of dreamers and doers.  All you need to do is keep going, keep writing, keep submitting, and keep reaching.  You can do this!


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Connect with Merry Farmer on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://merryfarmer.net

Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso


The hours in a day were never enough. Each watch, report, and exam seemed like an organized disruption to Gallant’s desire for food and sleep. Each irreverent “Attention Midshipman Gallant” that blared over his head, called him away to some new obligation. A week after re-qualifying, Gallant joined the other midshipmen in an advanced flight training session conducted by Lieutenant Mather.

Mather was going to review the ship’s computer systems in detail in preparation for a mock combat session. While many of the midshipmen were already up to date on the ship’s AI systems, it was an opportunity for Gallant to catch-up.

Mather stood at the head of the compartment at a lectern facing several rows of chairs. He began describing the Repulse’s computer system, “It’s a marvel of Twenty-second Century technology. It provides three levels of operation for each and every important department on board including: navigation, engineering, weapons, environmental, and communications. The first level is the centralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. It performs what we call ‘strong-AI.’ Then, the second level includes system operations of individual departments with their own ‘weak-AI.’ They require more human interaction in order to coordinate systems. Finally, the last level is direct human manual control.”

“Officers, this is the strong-AI system nicknamed GridScape.” A three dimensional humanoid holograph form appeared before Mather. ““The avatar image is changeable,” he flipped through a few before settling on a base form. “I prefer this nondescript image for my lectures. GridScape is a wireless grid computer network consisting of over one million parallel central processors performing a billion-billion operations per second. It helps to control operations throughout the ship and its fighter support within a limited range. It coordinates overall control with our technically trained crew. Of course, it has redundant connectivity for reliability; both direct wiring, as well as wireless connections. GridScape is fully capable of independent automatic operation for most routine operations and many emergency responses that the ship may be required to perform.”

Sandy Barrington stood up and asked, “What happens when there’s battle damage, sir?”

“In the event the strong-AI system is damaged, the weak-AI computer systems take over local functional operation. Of course, every device can be switched to manual operation as required. Also, all crew members have their comm pins. They can connect to local resources that in turn can connect to the centralized AI,” said Mather.


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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – G

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Connect with H. Peter Alesso on Facebook

Website http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

Thursday, December 26, 2013

#AmReading - Trojan Horse by David Lender @davidtlender

Trojan Horse by David Lender


Daniel Youngblood is a world-weary oil and gas investment banker who's ready to hit the beach, when he's hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really CIA-trained spy with a shocking past with the Saudi Prince. She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world's oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.
Excerpts from Bull Street, The Gravy Train and Vaccine Nation, David Lender's other thrillers, follow the text of Trojan Horse.

Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody @CarlaWoody1

Chapter Two:
Beyond Words

I was leading a very mainstream life. While I had some sense of purpose, I additionally had an underlying feeling that something was seriously lacking. Even though there was a recognition of incompletion, I can’t say that it was a conscious realization, more of a sense of things not expressed, blocked or segregated.

The previous year I’d left the large government agency where I’d worked nearly my entire career up to that point. Being out from under bureaucratic constraints lent a certain kind of freedom that I craved, but a large part of my livelihood was still generated through that environment where I returned as a consultant. I felt the rigidity of the organization to the point that it triggered an aversion in me.

What I now know is that whenever we have an unreasonably strong response to something external, something is lurking internally of the same nature. At the time, I recognized what I can only describe as flatness, a lack of real engagement to anything in which I was involved. It’s unlikely that this fact was apparent to anyone but me. I was known for my mind and abilities for pulling people and projects together. To others, my guess is that I appeared actively engaged in my life. After all, I was busy doing what needed to be done, just like most with whom I came in contact.

But I knew something was omitted. Fourteen years earlier, I’d had a major signal identifying my disconnection. Because of a viral infection that attacked my thyroid, I became extremely ill. I was likely within a hair’s breadth of death before I’d had any inkling of the seriousness of the illness. It probably was only through my mother’s mother-bear-like, protective attention and demands to the physician I finally visited that I am even alive today.

A major crisis such as this one is often the impetus that will kick start a revelation—or revolution. After my recovery, I finally comprehended the level of absurdity and danger that the lack of awareness of my own condition brought. I was able to discern that I wasn’t practicing denial in the sense of not wanting to face something. But more so, I was disconnected from my body to the degree that I had been unable to recognize my lack of health. How could I? My life and level of consciousness was weighted in my head, cut off from my physicality and any real experience or attunement other than mental observation.

I heeded a cry from my Core Self, not even knowing of her existence, and sought out meditation. That was an unlikely avenue back then, only because where I was living at the time offered very few opportunities to explore anything even somewhat resembling consciousness studies. With the help of a couple of books, I put together a practice to which I remained faithful.

Over the years, I found myself becoming increasingly calmer and healthier. I knew that the change was due directly to my dedicated focus on meditation. Indeed, I became much more in tune with my body and its messages to me. I began to trust those messages implicitly, telling me when things were right, or not, in my world.

But I knew something was still missing. I remained an observer to a large degree, not a participant. While I’d read of spirituality and various states that told of that realm, I’d had no direct experience. I intellectually knew that Spirit was an aspect of my makeup, but couldn’t quite grasp even the concept of such a reality. And yet there was something underpinning my entire existence that called out for this wholeness. Some part of me deeply desired integration.

When strong intent is present, the means to fulfill it will automatically appear. But I didn’t know this truth at that point in my journey. I only knew that I felt somewhat fragmented, and one day noticed an ad in a professional journal for a retreat with a Peruvian shaman to be held in the Southern Utah desert. Ignoring the fact that my sole idea of camping then was in pensions in large European cities, or that I didn’t even know what the term “shaman” meant, I felt a strong draw in my body to call and register. So, I did.

Four months later, I flew cross-country to Salt Lake City where I was picked up with some other retreat goers and driven some hours south to a remote canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The beauty of the area was incredible and helped to overwhelm my uneasiness of being with people with whom I wasn’t acquainted, and an upcoming event about which I knew absolutely nothing.

When we finally rolled into the makeshift camp, I climbed out of the truck feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the two being closely linked anyway. While in this state, I noticed a brown-skinned man making his way toward me. He had dark, wavy hair, a mustachioed, handsome face, and wore a woven poncho. His eyes sparkled. He smiled broadly and wrapped his arms around me in greeting. As he did so, any fear I felt dissipated immediately and was replaced by great warmth swelling from some place inside me, unlike any I’d ever felt. This was the man the sponsors had advertised as a shaman, the person who, in the years ahead, I would come to know not only as a mystic and teacher of the heart, but a cherished friend—Don Américo Yábar. My meeting him was to change the fabric of my entire life. And I had asked for it unknowingly.

Around the campfire that evening, Don Américo introduced the subject of intent through his translator. He encouraged each of us to set our intent that evening for the week that was to follow. I went off on my own to think about what he’d said, the whole idea of intent being a slippery one, at best, that I had a challenge grasping. However, I decided that I must have set my intent, at some level, before I even came. That was what pulled me to the retreat not even knowing what it entailed. I wanted to be joined. I wanted direct engagement. I wanted integration of my mind, body and spirit. I told no one.

The next morning held the usual gorgeous, blue desert sky. The group had hiked some distance from our camp and found a natural rock amphitheatre. We made ourselves comfortable in the shadows of the boulders, out from under the Utah sun which was already getting quite warm. Don Américo began to speak. I don’t remember now exactly what he said. I was being lulled by the lilting rhythms of his and his translator’s vocal patterns that took the meaning of the words to some unconscious level.

Suddenly, he stopped and gazed intensely at me. He motioned for me to come to the middle of the circle where he stood. Under normal circumstances, I would have done so reluctantly, if at all, not being comfortable “exposing” myself to others in that way. In that case, however, I felt completely at ease.

I approached him. He stood directly in front of me only about eighteen inches away, his liquid brown eyes locking onto mine. It was as though he was channeling pure love directly into my being. Both of his hands hovered right outside my body at the chest level.

Making a motion of pulling apart outside the heart center, he said, “The way to see is with the body’s eye.”

I felt what I could only describe as a sweet welling in that energy center that began to undulate, creating a rippling effect.

He moved one hand up to my forehead. Making a wiping motion in my subtle energy field, he proclaimed, “Not the mind’s eye!”

I felt something shut at that level, all the while the heart energy continued to reverberate. I was unaware of anything other than large waves of effervescent warmth that seemed to echo silently, returning from the stones surrounding us, further intensifying the awakening. People seated around us gasped and murmured. I have no idea how long I stood that way. I do not know how I found my feet to return to my seat. I do not recall what occurred the rest of the day.

I was opened. I was filled. I’d had my first direct experience—beyond words.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Carla Woody on Facebook & Twitter



Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Monday, December 23, 2013

#AmReading - Behind the Lies by Robin Perini @RobinPerini

Behind the Lies by Robin Perini


When Jenna Walters uncovers proof the father of her young son is an international assassin, she has just minutes to gather the boy and run.

But Jenna has nowhere to hide. No one to trust.

Until she meets Zach.

Of the six Montgomery brothers, Zach has always been the renegade. He leads a double life as a CIA operative with a dark and haunting secret.

When a mission to eliminate a terrorist goes horribly wrong, Zach’s cover is blown. Everyone he cares about is in danger, including Jenna and her boy—two vulnerable stowaways he’s determined to protect.

Behind the Lies, another action-packed Montgomery Justice novel from RITA® finalist and bestselling author, Robin Perini, is the thrilling story of a man fighting for redemption for an unforgivable betrayal…and the woman whose hope and determination against all odds could give him a last chance at love.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#MustRead - Stark Warning by James Raven @JamesRaven9

Stark Warning by James Raven

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

4.5 (26 reviews)

“Every time you appear on screen someone will die.”
That’s the stark warning given to Jessica Lee, host of a confessional talk show on network television with millions of fans. But one deranged viewer is out to destroy her career. He demands that her programme be scrapped and tells her to stop appearing on TV. To prove he means business he claims his first victim – a young woman who is found dead with her throat cut. Jessica and her bosses face an agonizing dilemma: take the show off the air or risk more murders. They decide to defy the killer, for fear of setting a dangerous precedent. But there are dire consequences.
James Raven, author of Stark Warning, has worked for over thirty years in the television industry and drew on his experience when writing this novel. He’s also the author of Malicious, After the Execution, Rollover, Urban Myth, Red Blitz, Brutal Revenge and Arctic Blood.


Check out the Video trailer for MALICIOUS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPmqY2NOV4

Friday, December 20, 2013

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book 1) by Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks

Eliza Green

Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

˃˃˃ Thought Provoking SciFi, Dystopian Tale – Compulsion Reads

I would happily recommend this book to fans of dystopia, science fiction and conspiracy lovers. You will be in for an exciting ride.

˃˃˃ Excellent Use of ForeShadowing – Masquerade Crew

This book demonstrates why I read Indie books and have enjoyed doing so immensely. Yes, some self-published books don’t deserve to see the light of day, but this isn’t one of those. Far from it. It was exciting and it had mystery. It sets up the next book while still giving you closure in this one–a difficult task for a book in a series.

˃˃˃”Becoming Human”… a promising first book… 4 1/2 Stars – Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer

A well written and deftly told Sci-Fi tale that got better and better.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect withEliza Green on FacebookTwitter

Website http://www.elizagreenbooks.com

Great White House by Christoph Paul @ChristophPaul_


Most stories should not start with “it was a dark and stormy night” but this evening in Washington, DC could be described no other way. A great storm was raging, as were key members of Congress and other important figures. The politicians waited in silence staring at a blank satellite screen for the eccentric Chinese President Xi Jinping to appear and discuss the massive debt America owed China.

The group was in the East Room of the White House above the library, where a small window reflected the faces of those who had enough ‘klout’ to sit at the round table with President Obama and Vice President Biden.

It would be any news reporter's dream to sit alongside these political heavyweights, but the “China Task Force” or C.T.F. had made this a closed conference, top-secret event. So secret, even Snowden didn’t know about it.

Even if the White House let the press in, the reporters would not have made it through the heavy downpour in Washington, DC. Visibility in the city was close to zero. Normal traffic ended hours earlier as young and old government employees hunkered down in their favorite bars to weather the storm.

Now, rain poured so hard the echoes of the downpour shot through the White House, giving attention to the awkward silence in the East Room.

As the large teleprompter screen remained blank, an animated Michele Bachmann broke the silence. “I just don’t trust these Chinese, even with their food. My husband ends up having problems with his rectal area after he eats it when I’m away. You should see the fees I pay his proctologist. Thank the good Lord we don’t have ObamaCare or he wouldn’t be able to walk.”

The other members of the C.T.F. remained silent, as most believed Mr. Bachmann to be a closeted homosexual. Being the peacemaker, President Obama wanted to avoid any divisive issues. “Yes. I understand. Chinese food, though delicious, bothers my stomach and Michelle’s as well Congresswoman Bachmann.”

Joe Biden rose from his chair and headed toward the decanter on a table at the side of the room. “Hey, Barry, I thought it was only black guys that were late, not the Chinese. Ha. That's good one.”

The oft-amused Biden smiled and gave a self-satisfactory laugh. President Obama shook his head, grateful the press wasn’t here to catch another ‘JoeGaffee.’ Biden poured himself a glass of scotch as Obama popped a piece of Nicorette in his mouth.

“Since this meeting is 'not official,' I suppose it's all right to have a drink.” Biden cheered the room. He brought another cup over to Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and sat back down; the two had become close since their 2012 Vice Presidential debate and would drink over the ‘malarkey’ of the day.

Eric Cantor, next to his also-tanned counterpart Majority Leader Boehner, was fed up with the jokes. “In all seriousness, what the Chinese President is doing is a power move. It’s a psychological display of dominance. You can’t trust a communist.”

Senator Ted Cruz slammed his fist on the table. “Those commies will play mind games. I agree.”

Congresswoman Pelosi raised her hand. “Excuse me, but I’m more worried about this storm. We might be stuck here.” She gestured at the window. “This storm has gotten dangerous. I'm telling you, it's global warming. Only global warming could cause a downpour of this magnitude! My constituents are very worried about this issue and so am I.”

Democrat Senator Harry Reid and Socialist Bernie Sanders agreed but Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Tim Scott shook their heads in annoyance and said a silent prayer for the socialists in the room.

Other Republicans rolled their eyes at Pelosi’s statement. Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul responded, “If global warming even exists, the market will fix it. What we need to worry about is the debt. The Chinese have every right to call this emergency meeting and to want their money.”

Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (who was called out of retirement to help out the C.T.F.) nodded in approval of Senator Paul’s market solution.

President Obama took a deep breath and offered a fake but serene glance to acknowledge Paul's statement. He put his hand up and quieted the room. “Now, now, let's not have the global warming debate right now, folks. There is talk that the Chinese are very upset about our debt and want us to pay now, which is a surprise to us all. But that is not the only reason for this emergency meeting. The NSA has heard some terrorist chatter about an attack on Annapolis that could dismantle many of our Navy’s resources. They say the Chinese might know about it. We might be in for a long night. Look, if the storm gets worse, you can sleep here; it’s a big house. We can sell to it to the press as a political sleepover. They’ll find that cute and bipartisan.”

New York Senator Schumer rubbed his temples in frustration. “Oi vey, I don’t have my Ambien.”

Senator McCaskill gave him a nice Missouri smile.

“It’s okay, Chuck. You can have some of mine. Senator Rubio, I have some bottled water if you need it, too.”

The group laughed and Senator Rubio inwardly grimaced at the overused joke but mustered a smile that only a man running for President in 2016 could pull off.

Senator McCain put down his unfinished poker game. “You pansies and your sleeping pills. When I was in Vietnam I slept on pure steel and spider shit… President Obama, sir, I’m sick of waiting for these communists. Either you call them or I will.”

President Obama saw an annoyed crowd and felt the temperature in the room rising. On days like this he was sick of being President but he knew this was not a time for self-pity. He looked out at the storm and thought of his Kenyan father herding goats in this type of downpour. His father would not have been deterred by hardships like this. The President sighed with finality. “All right, John, enough is enough. Let’s get President Xi Jinping on screen. We’ve waited long enough.”  

Great White House NEW COVER

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fiction, Humor

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Christoph Paul on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Catherine Astolfo – Inside the Mind of the Author @cathyastolfo

Inside the Mind of the Author: Oh The Voices in My Head

by Catherine Astolfo

If you heard an echo of “Gloria” in yours at that title, you are probably close to my advanced age!

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, but I have to admit that I go around hearing voices. They are pretty real to me, since I gave birth to their owners.

The characters in my Emily Taylor Mystery series have birthdates, full names, height, weight, colour of eyes, hair and skin, personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses—all from me. Most of them live in a little village that I created too.

Emily, Langford, May, Alain, Edgar, Frances, Chief Dan and so on—are all people I can picture instantly. Like old friends whose faces you can never, ever forget. The moment you are back in one another’s company, it’s as though you’ve never been apart.

The stories and the plots are always there in my head, too. It gets very crowded sometimes and circuits do tend to overload. For instance, I could be taking a lovely, summery day ride in the car with my husband. Inside my head, it’s a different picture altogether.

Down in a dark, dank basement, a man lies slowly bleeding to death from a shotgun wound.  I am contemplating how long it would take him to die, when my husband asks me what I’m thinking.  Unfortunately for him, I tell him.  This is a scenario from The Brdigeman, Book One of The Emily Taylor Mysteries.

A large raccoon is splayed upside down in the slope of the ditch on my right.  He is stiff and awkward on his back, lips pulled back in an angry grimace.  Maggots crawl out of his mouth and flies swarm everywhere.  I can hear their frenzied delight as we stop for a red light.  I am fascinated.  Victim—Book Two!

Next we pass a burned-out shell perched forgotten on a side road.  I am thrilled to see it.  I ask my husband to stop so I can get out and breathe in the scorched wood smell and the stench of furled plastic and dead things underneath the ash.  Great experience for Legacy, Book Three.

Forensics for Dummies, Until You Are Dead, Criminal Investigative Failures – these were the books that dominated my shelves during the writing of Book Four.  Along with questions to which I find an answer through Sisters in Crime’s forensics specialist: Can you paint scenery on a dead body?

Now I’ve got 3 books on the go: one about a psychopath who betrays her best friend, a “cozy” about a retirement home, and a children’s story about a ghost I once knew. Oh the voices in my head!


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Psychological Suspense

Rating – 18+

Connect with Catherine Astolfo on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://www.catherineastolfo.com/

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Eden Plague (Plague Wars) by David VanDyke @DVanDykeAuthor


A hard-hitting military technothriller, ON SALE for a limited time. Pick it up today before it’s back to its normal $3.98 price.

A Kindle Book Review 2013 Best Indie Award Winner semi-finalist. thekindlebookreview.net/2013-book-awards/ 

Rule #1: Try not to shoot your future wife. When special operations veteran Daniel Markis finds armed invaders in his home and it all goes sideways, he soon finds himself on the run from the shadowy Company and in possession of a genetic engineering breakthrough that might throw nations into chaos. Out of options, Daniel turns to his brothers in arms to fight back and get the answers he needs. Soon he takes possession of a secret that threatens the stability of the world, as he leads a conspiracy to change everything.

Eden Plague leads readers into the exciting and engrossing Plague Wars apocalyptic-thriller series. It borrows from the traditions of Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, with shades of David Drake, Jerry Pournelle, S. M. Stirling, Vaughn Heppner and B.V. Larson.

Also from David VanDyke:

The Plague Wars Series:
- The Eden Plague
- Reaper’s Run
- The Demon Plagues
- The Reaper Plague
- The Orion Plague
- Cyborg Strike
- Comes the Destroyer

Stellar Conquest Series:
- Planetary Assault – contains First Conquest: Stellar Conquest Book 1
- Desolator: Book 2
- Tactics of Conquest: Book 3 (Winter 2013)

PG-13 for language, violence and adult situations (non-explicit)

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – SciFi, Adventure

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect withDavid Van Dyke on FacebookTwitter

Blog https://davidvandyke.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#AmReading - Picture Imperfect by Nicola Yeager @NicolaYeager

Picture Imperfect by Nicola Yeager


Chloe Dixon is a struggling artist in her early thirties.
She’s lived with her boyfriend Mark for almost two years and things seem to be going smoothly.
Then one day Mark unexpectedly announces that he’s going on holiday to Greece for a week with an old friend – and a couple of girls.
And suddenly the Picture is far from Perfect.
Mark insists the holiday will be quite innocent.
And Chloe trusts him.
But can any woman really trust her boyfriend cavorting around a Greek island with another woman?
And is she being unreasonable to think that this might not be a very nice thing to do to your girlfriend?
As Chloe completes her latest canvas, she starts to wonder if this is the moment to take Mark out of the picture completely?
'Picture Imperfect' is a sparkling romantic comedy about trust, holidays and relationships.

#Free - The Adventures of Crog and Zog by Emily A. Cabot

The Adventures of Crog and Zog by Emily A. Cabot

Amazon Kindle US

Frog Toad adventures will keep your child delighted as this precious frog tale unfolds. In The Adventures of Crog And Zog In The Land Of Frogs And Toads, frog and toad are friends, teaching your children important lessons about getting along with those who are different from them. This story features the frog prince Crog and his friend, Zog, who decide that when frog and toad are friends, everyone's life is better off.
In this delightful book, your child will stay on the edge of his seat while learning of the trouble that frog and toad get into throughout the pages of this book. Your young child will meet the friendly ducks who can make frogs fly,and learn about the thrills of adventure while our young stars visit the place where frog and toad all year live together. Because of the exciting nature of this children's book, like the other book in the frog and toad series, your children will learn that being brave enough to face the unknown can take them to marvelous places that they had only before dreamed of visiting.
Emily A. Cabot goes all out in this frog tale, giving children the opportunity to learn important lessons while remaining safely within the realm of comfort for a children's frog prince story. Since frog and toad are friends in this book, your children are introduced to the always challenging concept that just because you are different from someone else doesn't mean that you can't be friends.
Within this second book featuring the frog prince Crog, your child will be delighted with colorful drawings and playful illustrations that bring the frog and toad drama to life in your hands. Your child will want to read about frog and toad all year long, quickly becoming one of their favorite tales to be told at the bedtime setting
As frog and toad together gives the story a feeling of unity and delight, your child will fall in love with these playful characters from the frog and toad series all over again in this newest adventure.
The time spent with your child reading these tales will create fond bedtime memories that your child will cherish for the rest of their lives. Don't delay, get your copy of this tale of frog toad today, and open your child's mind to the delights and wonders of the imaginative world of Emily A. Cabot's delightful story.

Julia (The Good Life series) by Sarah Krisch


The Good Life Book One

Chapter 1


...and looking out on the two acres of newly planted seedlings, I feel a sense of satisfaction that only working your own land can bring. Although my back is sore and dirt cakes my fingernails, I know that the land gives back so much more than the effort I put into it. Inhaling the fragrant spring air, feeling the sun's gentle warmth, I am at peace. For tonight, my family will feast on cream of asparagus soup, an early season tossed green salad, and a crusty home-baked bread that melts on your tongue. Pair this with a bottle of local elderberry wine, and you're living the good life.

Julia closed her eyes, her fingers a hair's width from striking the laptop's keyboard. She could almost feel the sun on her cheeks, smell the freshly turned soil. It was a comfort she would often recall whenever she needed a reminder of some of the happiest moments of her life. As a child she'd spent her summer months living at her grandparents' farm in Harmony Grove, Iowa. In retrospect, those quaint, stuck-in-time summer vacations were a great way to grow up, but she couldn't be happier having moved to Chicago—or living with Nora, her best friend since they'd been paired as college roommates eight years ago.

The click of high heels brought her out of her reverie. Julia looked up to see the overly made-up face of the nail tech as she glanced at the timer and whispered, "Five more minutes." Julia nodded and looked back at her laptop screen.

She sighed, happy to have finished another weekly column. Not only was it finished, it was actually pretty darned good. Nine months of weekly columns… she never imagined it would last so long, or that she would even have enough to write about to keep it fresh and interesting. When she'd started the column as a simple blog she never thought anyone would read it. But somehow, in the mysterious workings of the internet, her little Wordpress blog had garnered a following, a following that soon outgrew the free domain world of Wordpress. Her blog, The Good Life, had been syndicated by the Chicago Herald website for six months. Her thousand loyal readers had now become ten times that amount, and growing.

She saved the file to her laptop, careful not to smudge her manicure, and then emailed a copy to her editor at the Herald.

When the timer went off, Gloria, the owner of the salon, approached with a smile and lifted the hairdryer. "How was your day of beauty?"

Julia stood up from the pedicure drying station and glanced down at her toes. "I finally look worthy of the gorgeous Jimmy Choos I bought last week. They only cost me a month's worth of columns."

"I don't know how you get any work done here with all of this racket going on."

"When I'm working on my column, I'm not really here," Julia said as she closed her computer and stowed it in her laptop bag. "I'm at the farm."

"You sure don't look like a farm girl to me."

"And thanks to all of your fabulous skills, I never will." Julia wiggled her fingernails, gleaming with fresh polish. She hadn't had her hands in freshly turned soil in many years.

"None of your readers suspect that you're really just a city girl with an active imagination?"

"No, ma'am. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to you. Beautician-to-client confidentiality," Julia said with a wink.

"Your secrets are safe with me, girl," Gloria said as she walked Julia to the cash register. "Same time next week?"

Julia handed over her well-used Visa. "You know I can't resist."


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Sarah Krisch on Facebook

Rebekah's Quilt by Sara Barnard @TheSaraBarnard

A long shadow appeared on the ground outside the barn, concealing the identity of the owner. “Lester at the livery claimed the only place to get quality wood work done was by a feller out here by the name of Stoll. Samuel Stoll.” With a jingle, the stranger stepped into the patch of sun framed by the barn’s door. “I’m Peter O’Leary.” His voice was deep and coarse. He towered over Samuel, who stood, grinning, next to him.

The sun glinted off the two tinkling silver stars that stuck off the backs of his boots.

Hallo,” said Rebekah and Joseph in unison.

She let her eyes roam over the stranger, taking no qualms at subtlety. Tufts of straw-colored hair stuck out from under his black hat, which was cocked over one eye in a decent attempt at covering a vertical scar that ran through his eyebrow. His stormy green eyes stared back at her from his stubbly face, revealing no emotion. He neither smiled nor frowned.

“Does your family await your return in Montgomery?” The sudden sound of Joseph’s voice made her jump.

Peter flipped back his duster, revealing two shining pistols, one held in place on each of his hips by a gleaming black belt.

“Family?” He spat on the dusty barn floor and shifted his weight, causing the silver stars to clink again. “Ain’t got none waitin’, least not in Montgomery.”

Rebekah cocked an eyebrow before she could help herself. The manners of the English haven’t improved much since rumspringa.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Romantic Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Sara Barnard on Facebook & Twitter

What inspired me to write my book? – Rik Stone @stone_rik

What inspired me to write my book?

Lots of people feel the need to write almost as soon as they learn to put words together. I went to

school with girls who kept diaries and diligently made entries on a daily basis. Not me, I was like

the other boys. If there was a ball to play with, we’d play football. If there was no ball, we’d find

an old tin, maybe in a dustbin, and play kick the tin. In the late 50’s, early 60’s, where I came

from that was what life was for a young lad – and I loved it.

I don’t remember the exact age, let’s say fifteen for the sake of argument, but I picked up a book

I think was my uncle’s and began reading it. The novel was called The Carpetbaggers and was

written by Harold Robbins. The first chapters, when the protagonist’s parents were murdered,

absolutely enthralled me. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, not enjoying the greatest of

concentration at that time, I found the book too long, too slow, and soon got bored. However,

when another novel by the same author showed up in the house, The Adventurers, I thought I’d

give it a go. Once again the first chapters had me living the pages, but, yet again, as I delved

further into the book my interest waned.

So, you might think, no signs of a budding writer here. But no, those first chapters in The

Adventurers were about an author who’d made it to the top of his trade. He lay next to his

private swimming pool in the garden of his grand house musing over what the point of his life

was now he’d done it all. Without realising it at the time, that man by the pool had been so

believably drawn by Robbins that he weaved himself through my skin. Over the years he held on

to a compartment of my mind. I wanted what he’d had. You might think I mean his wealth and

position. That would be nice, but no, my reasoning was that the stories of that fictitious writer

were adored by all who read them. He had a worldwide following and his works were renowned.

I think what I felt was that age old sin… envy.

This figment of some writer’s imagination grabbed a space in my mind from where he

occasionally popped up to make sure I hadn’t forgotten him. I was fifty when I retired and I had

no intention of donning a new harness belonging to someone else. At the same time I’m not one

to sit around contemplating life and I’d been an avid reader for many years. The little man in my

head chose that moment to highlight an opportunity. I did creative writing courses, bought and

read a multitude of ‘how to write anything’ type books and started writing… and there I was,

proudly presenting my debut novel Birth of an Assassin. An interesting offshoot to this tale; you

can carry ambition around for many years without even knowing it.

Birth of an Assassin

Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Author Interview – Aaron Paul Lazar #TheSeacrest @aplazar


Q) Do you enjoy writing?

A) I love the process of writing. It’s as if I’m living in the movie in my mind. It’s a fantastic escape mechanism and I crave the process like a drug addict. Lately I’ve had to do more promotional efforts and I must say, while it is fun because I get to interact with all kinds of people, I don’t enjoy that as much as the pure process of creating.

Q) Do you write in a specific place or time of day? Do you keep a notebook to jot down ideas?

A) I write mostly in the early morning hours or the later, quieter moments of the day. But I can write anytime, anywhere. I have been known to write some great scenes in a hospital, waiting for family to come out of surgery, or in the airport, waiting for a plane to Germany. It seems whenever I have a moment to myself, it is the “perfect” time to write. Although I must say my favorite time to write is the dark, early hours of morning.

I don’t keep a notebook, but there is a file I have on my computer with “ideas for stories” that I occasionally refer to. Usually I have an idea brewing for one particular story that seems to overpower me. I think about it constantly. I dream about it. And then the new book begins to take shape. That’s my typical process.

Q) Do you know the end of a novel when you begin? Do you ever change your planned plot in midstream?

A) I don’t always know the endings in advance. I usually know the beginning and the general themes I will use. I start to write and let my characters take over, then as the themes deepen and become more complex, the ending seems to fall into place. If you’ve read my works, you’ll know I usually like to end my stories in an upbeat, positive fashion. People still die, someone is still hurt, but in the end, the stories resolve to a positive outcome.

Q) Do you discuss your work with family or friends?

A) I used to drive my wife crazy, asking her about what Gus LeGarde (my first protagonist in LeGarde Mysteries) would do, or what she thought of one plot twist or another. Lately, however, I’ve been giving her a break. I think I used to drive her mad! These days, I sometimes run my plot ideas by my wonderful mentor, Sonya Bateman, who is a superb writer and a great teacher. She’s shared so much with me over the years and I know my writing has improved dramatically because of her influence.


Q) Does a character change as you build his or her part in the story?

A) I do believe in achieving what they call “character arcs” in general, although I never start out a book thinking, “how can I make Finn McGraw grow and change based on the circumstances?” It just seems to happen naturally as the stories unfold. But I hope my characters grow based on their challenges and traumas. How could they not?

Q) Are your characters skeletons when you begin writing or they fully fleshed out?

A) In the very beginning, when I start a series, my characters are pretty well fleshed-out, with back-stories that are intriguing and sad or difficult in some aspects. For example, Sam Moore starts out in Healey’s Cave (book 1 in Moore Mysteries, otherwise known as the Green Marble Mysteries) as a man in torment. He has been missing and mourning the disappearance of his little brother for fifty years. No one knows what happened to Billy, whether he’s dead or alive, and it tortures Sam every day of his life. There’s a long period of distinct history, and he often thinks back to it, including in some flashback scenes. I think when I began each of my three series (LeGarde, Moore, and Tall Pines) I played around a bit with the characters to develop them. Gus LeGarde started out being a testimony to my father, who was much like him. Then as time went on and I edited and refined Double Forte’ (book 1 in LeGarde Mysteries), I ended up dispersing a lot of “me” into the character. Of course, I was writing in the first person and I actually am a great deal like my father was, so it was kind of a natural outcome. In time, Gus LeGarde ended up being an amalgam of my father, me, and his own persona.

Q) Do you have a favorite in each book (other than the hero or protagonist)?

A) In Moore Mysteries, I’ve started to fall in love with Sam’s daughter’s lover, Penelope. She is a gay, prescient doctor of Native American descent who really fascinates me. I think I’ll have to feature her in the next book in Moore Mysteries. In other books I would say, yes, I have “special” feelings for certain characters who crop up – sometimes they are featured characters and sometimes they fill the main cast. In LeGarde Mysteries, my favorite has always been Siegfried, my “gentle giant.” In Tall Pines Mysteries, my favorites are Quinn and Callie.


They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.

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Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

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Love Unbroken (Love, Life, & Happiness) by Sheena Binkley @ChevonBink



I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone when I arrived at Shaw University. After my last stint at love, the only thing I wanted to focus on is getting through my first semester of college without any drama. That was my intentions, until I met Shawn Walker. At first I didn’t like him. He was arrogant and cocky; someone that I could easily despised, if he wasn’t so damn sexy. But one night changed my thoughts about him. I was able to let down my guard and be myself. Now, I have a second chance at love. Will I let myself love again, or will I continue to live in the past?


After my last girlfriend cheated on me, love was not on my agenda. I tried to escape it at all costs, until I met Riana Robertson. After thinking she was like every other girl, I easily avoided being around her, but that night, when I saw what happened to her, I had to help her. I had to protect her. That night changed the way I felt about her and I realized I could fall hard for her. But will our relationship survive once she finds out the truth about me. Or will I lose her forever…

This story is intended for readers 17+ (adult content/language, sexual content/language).

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Genre - New Adult Romance

Rating – R

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